What is an IP address?
An Internet Protocol address (IP address) is a human readable number that is assigned to each network device/network interface on a computer network that uses the Internet Protocol for communication. One one hand the IP address serves as a network interface identification, on the other hand an IP address serves for location addressing. Most common version that is used nowadays for public IP adresses is the IPV4 standard. It defines an IP address as a 32-bit number. However the huge growth of the the internet with more and more connected devices in the last years lead to development of IPv6. With IPv4 every IP address has now 128 bit. Unfortunatly it is still difficult to switch from IPv4 to IPv6. Both IPv4 and IPv6 do have private versions, since not all IP addresses need to be accessed publicly. These IPv4 and IP46 private ones can be used in internal networks and do not need to be coordinated with public IP address registries.
What can be identified by an IP address? Can I be identified?
An IP address not only reveals the provider of your internet connection but additonally also the city, postal code and the exact location (lat/long) of your providers exit node An exit node is the node of your provider that is connected to the internet and where all your traffic goes through. So basically your IP address does in no case ever reveal your exact address or even your name/identity. However, the provider knows your IP address and can map it to your address. Therefore, under some circumstances, law enforcement can detect who you are. They can get a warrant and can ask the provider for the whom the IP address they suspecting was connected to.